Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 260 08/06/13



I wonder if you have had any questions regarding accessing your emails from a Windows 8 laptop? I was told by John Lewis support that TalkTalk need to update their software, but TalkTalk say I have to use IMAP instead of POP3, which does not mean much to me.

Maggie Edwards, by email


Over the past few months I have been getting more questions about IMAP email than almost any other topic, and not just from Windows 8 users. We have touched on the problem a couple of times recently but now it is worth taking a closer look at what is happening, before we get to the solutions. Many of us now have smartphones, tablet PCs and laptops in addition to our home PCs and we want to be able to access our emails wherever we are. This can be difficult to achieve using the old POP3  (Post Office Protocol) system, which harks back to the days when most of us had a single PC connected to a slow and often expensive dial-up Internet connection. POP3 email programs like Outlook Express were designed to send and receive messages as quickly as possible so the connection can be closed.


The big problem with POP3, if you are using multiple devices, is that once messages have been downloaded they are automatically deleted form the server, so you can end up forwarding messages to yourself, if you have been picking them up whilst out and about and need to be able to see them on your home PC


Now most of us have fast, always-on broadband and permanently connected mobile devices. IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) takes advantage of fast and widespread Internet access and messages are stored on remote servers where they can be read and retrieved on any device, at any time. This also makes managing and sharing messages a lot easier. They can be flagged as read or answered and replies can also be viewed anywhere as they are also stored on the remote server, rather than locally, on the PC or device it was sent from.


The issue with Windows 8 is that the supplied Mail app is IMAP only. You don’t have to use it, though, and if you have no need of IMAP functionality there are plenty of free POP3 clients and apps that work on W7, W8, Macs, iPhones, Pads and Android devices. You will find a good assortment listed at: with links to the downloads. If you hanker back to the good old days of Outlook Express and its near identical replacement Windows Mail, then have a look at this item from my recent archives (, which shows how to install Windows Mail on a Windows 8 computer. 



Taking Out The Trash

When I try to empty my iPhoto trash I get the message ‘Are you sure you want to delete 5,696 items permanently’. When I click OK the page locks up and nothing happens. I suspect it is too big a load for the trash at one time, but cannot find a way to empty it in smaller lots.

G Roger Howe, Derby


Your iPhoto database may be corrupted, so if possible, begin by backing up your Library files to a external hard drive, just in case… You can then try rebuilding the Library by holding down Command and Option keys while opening iPhoto. Select Repair Database first, and if that doesn’t help, use Rebuild Database, and see if you can delete images in batches of 100 or so.



Claim To Power

Amazing claims are being made as to the capabilities of 4G phones, but surely these will be of academic value unless someone invents a revolutionary long-life battery? Even with my current 3G device, once I start using apps, the battery level appears to drop in front of my eyes!

Andy McClelland, by email


All true I’m afraid and although battery longevity is improving, and new smartphone processors now in the pipeline should significantly reduce power consumption, it is something that we are going to have to live with for a while yet. Nevertheless, there is still a lot that you can do that could add several hours to your running times. The screen and its backlight is one of the biggest drains on power so reduce brightness to the lowest comfortable level, and set a shorter timeout, to turn it off as soon as you have stopped using it. Turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS when you are not using them. Switch to Airplane mode or turn off 3G when there is no possibility of a connection, if you are on the Underground, for example, as the phone boosts output to try to connect to a network. Uninstall apps that you no longer need and close down those that you are not using; some may still be running in the background if you have simply switched to another application. Turn off Notifications for software updates and other pointless alerts. A regular reboot (switch off and remove the battery for 30 seconds), once a week, say, can help to clear the clutter and any battery draining background services that you may have missed. Finally, a free app called Juice Defender actively reduces power consumption by managing apps and minimising processor workload. Remember also that batteries deteriorate. Replace it if it is more than 3 or 4 years old or has undergone more than 1000 charge cycles.    



Wavering Support

I have a number of .wav music files stored on a Sony digital recorder. I would like to transfer them to an iPad or tablet PC but I am unsure if either would support this format, and if not, is there a solution?

Avril Hardie, by email


With a few provisos relating to exotic sampling rate and compression settings, iPads and most Android devices will happily play most .wav files. In the unlikely event the files are not playable as-is then all you have to do is convert them to the near universal .mp3 format, which you can do using a simple freeware utility called MP3 Toolkit ( 



© R. Maybury 2013 2005

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